Unlock the Mystery of Object Complements in Grammar

Marcus Froland

Think about the last time you said something like “They painted the house red.” Sounds simple, right? But there’s a hidden hero in that sentence making your meaning crystal clear. It’s called an object complement. In English, we often take these little guys for granted, yet they do heavy lifting to convey our thoughts precisely.

In this journey through the nuts and bolts of English grammar, we’ll uncover what makes an object complement tick. It’s not just about adding flavor to a sentence; it’s a crucial building block that completes our ideas. So why does it matter so much? Well, stick around, and you might just find out.

An Object Complement is a part of a sentence that gives more information about the object. Think of it like adding extra details to tell us more about what or who the object is. For example, in the sentence “They elected him president,” “president” is the object complement because it tells us what “him” (the object) has become.

In simple terms, an Object Complement can be a noun, pronoun, or adjective used after an object to describe it further or show its state. It’s important because it helps make sentences clear and adds depth to our understanding of what’s being talked about. Knowing how to use object complements correctly can greatly improve your writing and speaking skills in English.

Delving into the Basics: What is an Object Complement?

An object complement is a grammatical element that comes after the direct object of a transitive verb within the predicate of a sentence. It provides essential descriptive or renaming information about that direct object. Typically found as nouns, adjectives, or noun/adjective phrases, object complements are indispensable in expressing complete thoughts.

For example, in the sentences “Call me paranoid” or “We made the room extra cozy,” the phrases ‘paranoid‘ and ‘extra cozy‘ serve as object complements, providing necessary detail to the direct objects ‘me’ and ‘room’, respectively. Let’s break down these sentences:

  • Calltransitive verb (the action)
  • medirect object (the receiver of the action)
  • paranoid – object complement (descriptive or renaming information)


  • We – subject (the doer of the action)
  • madetransitive verb (the action)
  • the room – direct object (the receiver of the action)
  • extra cozy – object complement (descriptive information)

Deepening your understanding of object complements involves recognizing the roles of other components in a sentence, like transitive verbs and direct objects. Transitive verbs are action words that have a direct object, while direct objects are the nouns or pronouns receiving the action of the verb, often answering ‘what’ or ‘whom’ in relation to the verb.

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Transitive Verb Direct Object Object Complement
Call me paranoid
Make the room extra cozy
Consider the job overwhelming
Name her treasurer

Object complements are vital elements of English grammar that complete the meaning of a sentence by providing additional information about the direct object. By understanding the relationships among the predicate, direct object, and transitive verb, you can better recognize and use object complements in your everyday communication.

The Vital Role of Object Complements in English Syntax

English language relies on word order and syntax to convey precise meanings, with sentences typically following a few grammatical patterns. Object complements form part of the essential structure: subject + verb + direct object + object complement. They are particularly useful for expressing the effects or changes in the direct object or the perception of the direct object by the subject.

Understanding Sentence Structure with Object Complements

The role of object complements in sentence structure is essential for conveying the intended meaning. For example, consider the sentence:

“She considers John a genius.”

In this sentence, “She” is the subject, “considers” is the verb, “John” is the direct object, and “a genius” is the object complement that describes or renames “John.” Without the object complement, the sentence would be incomplete and ambiguous.

Deciphering the Difference: Object Complements vs. Other Complements

It is crucial to distinguish object complements from other sentence components like indirect objects and predicate adverbs.

Complement Type Example Explanation
Object Complement Anne believes chocolates tempting. “Tempting” renames or describes the direct object “chocolates.”
Indirect Object Anne gave Sarah the chocolates. “Sarah” receives the direct object “chocolates.”
Predicate Adverb Anne ate the chocolates quickly. “Quickly” modifies how the action of the verb “ate” is performed, not focusing on renaming or describing the direct object.

Understanding the differences between these types of complements will help you write more precise and meaningful sentences, with a clear understanding of sentence structure and syntax.

Typical Verbs That Pair with Object Complements

Object complements often pair with transitive verbs that suggest a change of state, a naming, or a description. These verbs help to link the direct object with its resulting state or new identification, thereby making your sentences more expressive and informative.

Below is an English verbs list with examples showcasing some commonly used verbs that tend to accompany object complements:

Verb Example
Appoint The board appointed Susan the new CEO.
Call She called him a genius.
Consider I consider myself a foodie.
Make That movie made her cry.
Name They named their daughter Amelia.
Paint The artist painted the walls a vivid blue.
Pronounce They pronounced the athlete the winner of the match.
Turn The warmth of the sun turned the snow into slush.
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Context is essential when identifying object complements in sentences, as some of these verbs may have other functions. In some cases, a verb may link to a direct object rather than an object complement, changing the overall meaning of the sentence. For instance, compare these sentences:

They made the cake (direct object)
They made the cake beautiful (object complement)

Recognizing and applying these object complement verbs, along with the knowledge of how object complements function within sentence structures, can improve both your comprehension and communication skills in English.

Spotting Object Complements in Everyday Language

Object complements are all around us in our daily conversations, written texts, and even social media posts. Despite their ubiquitous presence in everyday English usage, they often go unnoticed as a part of real-life grammar. These unobtrusive components typically appear in various forms, from single words to entire phrases. Being able to recognize object complements in daily language use can enhance understanding and pave the way for more skillful communication.

Breaking Down Real-Life Examples of Object Complements

Let’s examine some common object complement examples found in everyday language:

  1. Feeling unwell, he called the doctor incompetent.
  2. Jasmine considers her job a creative outlet.
  3. Total silence rendered the atmosphere awkward.
  4. Emily named her cat Whiskers.
  5. After the renovations, they found the kitchen more functional.

In each example, the object complements are highlighted in bold. These words and phrases describe or rename the direct objects and help convey complete thoughts in the sentences.

“Avoid elaborate language and know the full meaning of what you want to say. Your object is not to perpetuate a lofty, artificial literary reputation in rhetoric books, but to make clear the meaning of your message.”
– Woodrow Wilson

Becoming familiar with object complements in everyday English usage is not only beneficial for understanding but also for enhancing your communication skills. As you recognize and use object complements more effectively, your speech and writing will become clearer and more precise. This clarity will enable you to convey your thoughts and ideas more accurately to your audience, bridging the gap between intent and interpretation.

Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just an enthusiast looking to improve your language skills, perfecting your grasp of object complements is an invaluable step towards refined communication.

Shaping Sentences with Object Complements: A Practical Guide

Mastering the art of constructing sentences requires a firm grasp of English grammar, especially when it comes to the use of object complements. Understanding this key aspect of sentence structure can significantly improve your writing skills and enable you to communicate more effectively.

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One way to enhance your writing is by familiarizing yourself with the diverse forms of object complements, which include nouns, adjectives, prepositional phrases, and adverbs of place. By recognizing the relationship between transitive verbs, direct objects, and complements, you can create sentences that convey clear and complete meanings. For example, consider the sentence, “She made him a better person.” In this instance, “a better person” serves as an object complement, which is distinct from a direct object, as in “She made him a sandwich.”

As you continue to hone your grammar skills, remember to focus on employing object complements in your everyday language usage. By doing so, you will not only improve your communication abilities but also set yourself up for success in all your written endeavors. With ample practice and attention to detail, you’ll soon master the essential role of object complements in English syntax.

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